A large Royal Air Force Detachment of over 300 personnel has arrived in the United States to take part in Exercise Red Flag, a major exercise that will test the RAF detachment in complex combat Air Operations.
The deploying RAF detachment consists Typhoons from RAF Lossiemouth based II (Army Co-operation) Squadron supported by Voyagers from 10 and 101 Squadron based at RAF Brize Norton, together with ground support personnel from across the RAF.
For this iteration of the exercise the RAF Typhoons will join with combat aircraft from the United States Air Force, The United States Navy, the United States Marine Corps and the Royal Australian Air Force. During the exercise the aircraft will face simulated ground based air defence systems, aggressor aircraft that will simulate a peer adversary, and cyber and space-based threats as combat missions are planned conducted and debriefed.
Group Captain Roger Elliott, the RAF Detachment Commander for the exercise, said:
“After months of build up and preparation by the Squadrons and Air A7, Exercise Red Flag is underway. This is the most rigorous training that the Royal Air Force participates in. Everyone deployed to Nellis will learn how to do their job under the most testing conditions, in the world’s best combat training environment; this is an enormous opportunity to prepare for the most difficult operations with our US and Australian allies.”
Group Captain Roger Elliott
RAF Red Flag Detachment Commander
Exercise Red Flag has been a regular fixture on the RAF Exercise programme since the late 1970s, and this exercise will be based at the United States Air Force’s Nellis Air Base in Nevada. The objective of the exercise for participants is to develop capabilities in a high threat and contested environment against a near peer adversary.
The exercise, lasting until mid-February, will see the RAF aircraft integrating with the United States and RAAF aircraft as the operations become more complex. The exercise therefore allows common procedures to be developed, tested and practiced together, thereby allowing future air operations to be conducted together in a collation more effectively.
The exercise follows on from the recent annual US Weapons and Tactics Conference that was held at Nellis Air Force Base, which was attended by Air Marshal Harvey Smyth CB OBE DFC RA. Air Marshal Smyth is Deputy Commander Operations and as such is the senior Royal Air Force war fighter responsible for the conduct of air operations at home and overseas.
The purpose of WEPTAC is to bring together senior officers from the USAF and allied combat air forces to join Mission Focussed and Functional Working Groups that examine a range of issues. The findings are then briefed to the Air Force senior leaders who attend who then discuss potential Tactical Improvement Procedures.
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